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letters to the editor

Barre officials, turbine supporters have been unfairly maligned by some in community

Posted 11 June 2019 at 11:13 pm


I am writing this in response to all unwarranted criticism of our public officials in the Town of Barre. I attended the workshop meeting that Kerri Richardson wrote about in her recent letter to the editor and it was a full house.

Yes, it is true that questions were not allowed during the workshop, but attendees were informed that questions could be written on provided 3 x 5 cards, and they would be answered at the next meeting. As for the timing of the meeting, per law they can hold them whenever they choose, as long as proper notice is given, which it was. Some of the residents who accuse the Town Board of being out of compliance, don’t even have their own houses in order.

However, this letter is not about the meeting, it’s about the people. I believe one of the best attributes in the town of Barre is the people. My neighbors are some of my best friends. I cannot count the number of times they are there to lend a helping hand. Whether it’s helping me fix my lawn mower, checking in on my parents, stopping to help me catch the horses that escaped, or inviting my family over for dinner. The list could go on and on but one thing is for sure, it’s these people who make the community what it is, not the rural landscape (which by the way is also provided by them).

That’s what is so disheartening about the controversy over the wind turbine project. Farmers, leaseholders, elected officials, good neighbors have been personally attacked for pursuing a project that has been allowed in Barre since 2008, in accordance with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. These people have been called corrupt, ignorant, evil etc. for considering Green Power.

At the workshop meeting there was a flier saying the town officials must go because they are corrupt. These elected officials did not pursue the wind project nor alter the zoning to accommodate it. They are simply doing their duties as elected officials to research and consider what’s best for the entire community. If they did not review the wind project proposal they would not be doing their jobs.

I also heard it shouldn’t be about the money. I am not sure how anyone can say this. The farmers are the ones who provide the rural environment and yet pay the most property taxes.  When someone approaches them with the opportunity to make additional income regardless of Mother Nature, how can they not consider it? Residents in Barre often criticize the taxes.  How can you form a decision before you know what the financial impact is to each and every one of you?

I also heard that it’s not their right to put up wind turbines and change the scenery. Well I find that argument to be a slippery slope. Once we start dictating what they can and can’t do with their land, we are no longer a right to farm community. I know several of the opposition are gun owners and the minute the topic of assault weapons regulation comes up, they claim it’s their second amendment right. How is this different?

One topic that does bother me is the health concerns. I truly do not want to see anyone have ill effects because of a wind project. I understand the World Health Organization has valid concerns but I also realize that something has to be done to reduce our carbon footprint.  According to scientists, if our CO2 levels continue to rise, we will have major problems that will affect the whole world. Will there be better options for Green Power in the future? Probably, but I have no doubt they will have opposition as well. No proposed solution will satisfy everyone, but if we continue to resist any changes and advancements how will we leave the world better than we found it? What kind of world will we be leaving our future generations?

There are several candidates running for office this year in Barre. My hope is that whoever is elected will look out for what’s best for the whole community like our current members do, rather than being motivated by self interest. The challenge for the opposition would be to provide a solution that helps the farmers and the community and not just tell us the problems with the current proposal.

Regardless of the outcome, the damage has been done to our best asset, the people. Everyone deserves respect no matter what side of the debate they are on. It’s my belief that the negative culture that is being perpetuated will have a greater detrimental effect on property values than any proposed Green Power Project.

Why would people choose to live in a community where neighbors don’t support one another? Also, for the record, I support the farmers, many of whom supported my father when he was a veterinarian, regardless of what they want to do with their land. My father also has an opportunity for a wind turbine. As he would tell you, it’s not going to impact his lifestyle but it may help one of his grandchildren keep the family homestead. Either way, he still treats all people fairly and with respect!


Stephen Harling


Sobieraski has been outspoken about his plan to lead as sheriff

Posted 10 June 2019 at 8:25 am


In regards to the upcoming election for our next worthy Orleans County Sheriff, I am compelled to speak on behalf of Mr. Brett Sobieraski. I feel that it is my responsibility as a retired Air Force Security Forces Specialist whose last duty was the NCOIC of Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection for European Command. I have observed and collaborated with some of the most elite leaders across the world and acknowledge that Brett encompasses the traits that it takes to be a true leader.

One of the most vital components I have learned in being a successful leader is clear and concise communication. Brett is committed to speaking to those who he is ready to dedicate his time to as our next Sheriff. Brett has been working diligently to establish a rapport with our community in how he will expedite his vision as our next Orleans County Sheriff  through social media, radio talks, home visits and phone calls.

Brett is adamant about sharing his plans for the future as our next Orleans County Sheriff. His passion is apparent for he flawlessly communicates his plan of action. He is a natural. He genuinely wants to help us.

I know Brett will have no problem facing the music when the job gets tough. This is the type of position one must earn. Brett’s diverse background as starting out as a police officer in Lockport and is now the Law Enforcement Supervisor and is a team leader on the SWAT Team in the Greater Rochester area proves that he is more than qualified for the job.

Brett holds strong beliefs in unification. That is a concept all military personnel hold dear to. To simply say, teamwork makes the dream work. Brett plans to unify and train with all of our local law enforcement agencies—not only will this strengthen our bond, we will see immense improvements in our communities’ safety which is Brett’s number one priority.

In closing, Brett is the leader we can trust and lean on for our Orleans County Sheriff.


Joseph Marvin


Holley mayor appreciates the many people who contributed to JuneFest

Posted 7 June 2019 at 4:11 pm


Last weekend, the Village of Holley held its annual JuneFest Day. We had a beautiful day and many residents and visitors were able to come to our Village and spend the day enjoying our parade, craft and food vendors, wine tasting, an expanded kid zone, live music and entertainment, and of course finishing the night with our fireworks display. Overall it was a wonderful day to spend with friends and family!

None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our Community Events Committee, who volunteered their time and planned this event for months. I also want thank our Village DPW and Water/Electric staff who worked hard to get the park in shape and ready after a very wet spring.

I would like to thank all those that volunteered during the day, taking time away from their families and spending it serving this great event and our community. I also want to thank all of our local businesses who donated so generously to Junefest and sponsored the different events…it is because of your generosity that this event is constantly expanding and we are able to provide more and more fun events for families to enjoy.

Without everyone’s hard work and dedication to this wonderful community event none of this would be possible, your efforts are more appreciated than I can say in this letter! It is days and events like this that should remind us of what is great about living in a small community.

Lastly, and most importantly, thank you to everyone who came to visit us. We hope you enjoyed your day at JuneFest in the Village of Holley and we look forward to seeing you next year!

Brian Sorochty

Holley mayor

Libertarian candidate for county legislator deserves support from all parties

Posted 6 June 2019 at 7:29 am


I write to show my undying support for Chase Tkach as our next Orleans County legislator for an At-Large position. Chase would be a perfect fit for legislator.

She is a registered and endorsed Libertarian, who has strong values and a positive go-get-’em attitude. Experiences in her life bring bright new ideas to the table. She has worked at many jobs locally and she knows the struggle that we all face. She knows the need for continued leadership as well as different approaches and ideas to all aspects of local government.

Chase believes elected officials should listen to the community and wants to implement this in a new form. Chase has been quoted many times saying “…I see so much beautiful potential for this county that remains untapped.”

Some of the topics that Chase feels strongly about are as follows: Pro-Legalization of Marijuana, Pro-Second Amendment rights, Anti-Monopolized wind and solar farms, Pro-Lowering of taxes, and Anti-Spending of funds better used for other resources.

Most in this county will say they want change. Well change isn’t happening. Mr. Allport has been in this seat for far too long without listening to the people he represents. It’s time that changes.

I think Chase is one candidate all parties can find good in and get behind in the November election.

Thank you.

Ken Capurso

Town of Gaines

Sobieraski has skills, experience and enthusiasm to excel as sheriff

Posted 6 June 2019 at 7:10 am


In a few short weeks, the people of Orleans County will be selecting their next sheriff. Choosing the right person to protect a community is probably one of the most important decisions any citizen will make.

The person you choose as your next sheriff will be faced with a number of significant challenges that will require proven skills in leadership, community investment, team building, and a significant background in all facets of law enforcement. Faced with the difficult decision on who to support in the next election, I would like to offer the citizens of Orleans County a unique perspective on one of the candidates in the running to be your next sheriff – Brett Sobieraski.

I have known Brett his whole life. I worked closely with Brett’s dad, Detective John Sobieraski at the Lockport Police Department. John would bring Brett to the station frequently to hang around with the cops. Even at an early age, Brett had the intelligence, focus and the personality to be successful in any profession.

When he was hired by the LPD years later I was one of his instructors at the police academy and was later his supervisor. Throughout his career in the LPD, I found Brett to be an outstanding police officer who truly enjoyed the job. He was a quick learner, blessed with an enthusiasm and upbeat personality that infected everyone who worked with him – he’s still like that today.

Early in his career the city suffered a fiscal crisis. Brett and other officers were faced with possible layoffs. Due to his impressive track record with the LPD, Brett was immediately hired by the Rochester Police Department and began a long and successful career with RPD. He was quickly promoted to sergeant and later placed in command of a countywide Narcotics Enforcement team.

In regional law enforcement, Brett has an outstanding reputation. He is well-known for his passion for the job as well as his investigative and leadership skills.

Brett Sobieraski has spent 31 years working cases in suburban, rural and urban communities across Western New York. As the supervising sergeant of a multi-agency task force, SWAT team leader and law enforcement instructor his career experience has not been limited to one locale.

Brett chose to live and raise his family in Kendall and Orleans County 27 years ago. In that time, he has been active in the community and was recognized for his efforts, being chosen in 2018 as an Orleans County “Outstanding Citizen.”

I can assure you that if you choose to elect Brett Sobieraski as Orleans County Sheriff, he will bring everything that he’s got to the job every day. I can recommend Brett to you without reservation and urge you to vote for him in the upcoming election.


Chief (Ret.) Larry Eggert

Lockport Police Department

Barre Town Board shouldn’t have held important meeting at noon, when many residents couldn’t attend

Posted 5 June 2019 at 7:47 am


I am alarmed, but unfortunately not surprised, by the actions of the Barre Town Board, under Supervisor Sean Pogue. Last Wednesday, May 29, at noon the Town Board hosted a workshop to discuss a “Host Community Agreement.” Of interest was the notice of the meeting was posted once in the Batavia Daily by the Town, but was not listed on their website nor found via any other source.

It appears that the Barre Town Board decided to follow in the footsteps of Heritage Wind, LLC  and held this “public” meeting at a time that was most inconvenient for the residents to attend and added insult to injury by refusing public comment or involvement.

However, make no mistake, the residents of this community care as there were over 30 people who attended the meeting. Residents took time off from work, hired baby sitters, and made extra effort to attend this meeting in order to be informed on this debatable project.  Supervisor Pogue also stated at the start of this “public” meeting that “this is a continuing discussion.” But, having been very involved with this entire process, I can attest that these previous discussions have not been shared with the public, nor have they been open to the public – why the secrecy? This is clearly not acceptable behavior as the Barre Town Board members are public servants and were elected to serve the constituents of the Barre community.

Please note that the Barre Town Board is currently discussing the contents of a Host Community Agreement without knowing the specifics of the project, which have not been revealed, and can continue to change until an application is made (size, location of turbines, MW, etc.).

In January 2019, the Barre Town Board voted to reaffirm the current Town Wind Ordinance.  Without regard to the recommendations by the “World Health Organization” to instill stronger setbacks to help reduce negative health impacts caused by infrasound and sleep disturbance, the Town Board took the easy road and seemed to shrug off the recommendation and concern relaying that the “Siting Board of NYS could determine those setbacks” on behalf of the residents of Barre.

There is much concern that if this project should be approved, it would negatively impact a majority of the Barre community as well as those in the surrounding communities. Barre residents care about this issue and want to be involved! Barre Town Board: Why are you discouraging the constituents, that you serve, from participating in this process?

In November, Barre residents have the opportunity to change the current Town Board by electing Gerald Solazzo as Town Supervisor, Kerri Richardson for Town Councilwoman and Cindy Burnside as Town Councilwoman, who will fight to represent all. The Citizens for Change candidates will work hard to hold meetings/workshops at times that are more convenient for the residents of Barre, and will encourage public participation in our local government.

Kerri Richardson


Unauthorized political advertisement did a disservice to American Legion

Posted 4 June 2019 at 9:55 pm


This is in response to the retraction that the American Legion Post #204 posted yesterday in the Letters to the Editor. While leafing through the Lake Country Pennysaver on Sunday I noticed that there was a large ad urging the people of Orleans County to vote for current Undersheriff Chris Bourke in the upcoming primary for Orleans County Sheriff.

I thought it was odd that the American Legion Post # 204 was attached to the ad. It was paid for by David Wells / Legionnaires for Bourke. While I’m not a member of the American Legion and knowing what a great organization it is, I decided to do a little research and found their Constitution, Article 2, Section II clearly states that the American Legion shall be absolutely non-political and shall not be used for the dissemination of partisan principles nor for the promotion of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or preferment.

It went on to say that the American Legion as an organization is never to help or endorse a candidate. I was able to contact Post # 204 and they had no knowledge of this ad and didn’t authorize the heading with their post number or the Paid for by David Wells with Legionnaires attached to his name at the bottom of the ad.

While Mr. Wells has every right endorse Undersheriff Bourke (who are both Ridgeway Republican committeemen I might add), Wells did the American Legion a grave disservice by going against their Constitution and he owes them a public apology.

Ironically, Mr. Wells posted a letter in response to current Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli’s letter just before the retraction letter from the American Legion. He stated that the Ridgeway Republican Committee followed correct procedures in the handling of individuals whom Mr. Napoli stated advanced themselves and others to manipulate this year’s elections.

I find it ironic and both hypocritical of Mr. Wells stating that Mr. Napoli made inaccurate statements while he himself so blatantly went against the American Legion’s Constitution. Maybe it was an oversight on his part or maybe he thought attaching the American Legion name to the ad would add more clout. I suspect the latter.

If this is what the Ridgeway Republican Committee stands for, I’d want no part of it or anyone they’d endorse. I’d also like to hear more of Mr. Napoli’s statement in his letter about the illegitimate advancements and attempts to manipulate the elections.

Thank you,

Tim Jurhs


Retired county judge says Bourke has proven integrity and professionalism

Posted 4 June 2019 at 7:11 am


On Jan. 1, 1986, I began my first day as Orleans County District Attorney, and Christopher Bourke began his first day on road patrol as an Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputy. In the ensuing years, I watched Chris rise through the ranks of the department up to his current position as undersheriff.

I worked with him during my 5 years as district attorney, as well as my 28 years as county judge.  He proved himself, time after time, to be a dedicated, honest and reliable officer. He demonstrated great integrity and consistent professionalism. I don’t think anyone knows this county and law enforcement here better than Chris does. I was extremely happy to see that he is running for sheriff.

Some people run for office to boost their ego or status. Chris simply wants to serve the people of this county. Arrogance tends to inhibit the learning process. Chris has proceeded though his career without arrogance, and with his eyes wide open. As a result, he has learned and developed every step of the way. He has a rare combination of humility and reliable competence.

I have nothing negative to say about his opponent because I don’t know him. In fact, despite my having been involved in the Orleans County criminal justice system since 1981, I have never heard his name until he announced he was running for sheriff here.

We are fortunate to have Christopher Bourke, who has dedicated his entire career to our county, and who is so well qualified to serve as our sheriff. It makes good sense to support a known quantity, especially when the individual is more than capable.

Chris has a personal decency and civility that make me proud to call him a friend. He has been a great asset to this county his whole life, and he will continue to be as your sheriff.

James Punch


American Legion retracts unauthorized political endorsement

Posted 3 June 2019 at 1:26 pm


The American Legion Medina Post #204 is retracting an unauthorized political advertisement in the June 2, 2019 Lake Country Pennysaver.  The American Legion does not endorse this or any political candidate.

While The American Legion is pleased to see candidates address issues of concern to America’s veterans, it is a nonpartisan organization. The American Legion Constitution prohibits the organization from endorsing any candidate for political office.

Glenn Whitmore

Post #204 Commander

Stephen Johnson

Orleans County American Legion Commander

Ridgeway GOP committeeman says group followed procedures in backing Dave Stalker

Posted 3 June 2019 at 10:54 am


This is in response to Brian Napoli’s letter posted on May 29, “Ridgeway’s Town Supervisor says he has a record of accomplishment leading the Town.” I am a former Orleans County Deputy Sheriff, former Town of Ridgeway councilman, and a current Ridgeway Republican Party committeeman, who needs to correct Mr. Napoli’s inaccurate statements.

In my many years of serving on the Ridgeway Republican Party Committee there has never been to the best of my knowledge a breach of New York Election Law or New York Civil Law. The committee’s interview and nomination process was the same on Feb. 9 as any other time and was fair and voted on by the majority of our committee the same as past years when Supervisor Napoli asked for our endorsement.

The candidates we chose to endorse for the Town of Ridgeway are legitimate and the committeemen have never, “illegitimately advanced themselves and others to manipulate our elections,” as was stated by Mr. Napoli.

The committee decided to endorse Mr. Dave Stalker, current Town Board councilman. This was a majority vote, not a select few. Perhaps it is time for a change of town supervisor in the Town of Ridgeway and maybe there should be term limits on this position. God Bless American Democracy!


Dave Wells

Ridgeway Republican committeeman